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Oshawa downs Battalion

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Eric Henderson scored three goals and added one assist to power the Oshawa Generals to a 7-2 victory over the North Bay Battalion in an Ontario Hockey League game Thursday night.

Serron Noel also scored three goals, Danil Antropov contributed one goal and one assist and Tyler Tullio recorded three assists for Oshawa, which earned its first win of the season after dropping a 5-2 decision to the host Kingston Frontenacs in its season opener last Friday night. Goaltender Cole Ceci provided 34 saves.

Justin Brazeau and Daniel Walker scored for North Bay, which has a won-lost-extended record of 1-2-0. Starting goaltender Christian Propp allowed five goals on 17 shots before being replaced in the second period by Joe Vrbetic, who gave up two goals on 14 shots in his OHL debut before 2,174 at Memorial Gardens.

“It was another one of those games where we had a couple of chances early and didn’t score and they came down and scored,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler.

“We were behind the 8-ball, and it spiraled from there. I know our defence is young, but they’re going to get the opportunity to play, and I hope they figure it out sooner rather than later. Joe did fine. He made some good saves. Our penalty killing was good tonight. That was a positive sign but, as good as our PK was, our power play wasn’t.”

Ceci was tested early as Brazeau, Brad Chenier and Matthew Struthers all had good chances in the second minute of the opening period, but it was Oshawa which got on the board first when Noel buried the rebound of a Matthieu Franche shot at 2:27.

Noel struck shorthanded at 5:03, seizing a turnover to break in alone on Propp and beat the goaltender with a backhand deke.

Ceci, who faced 13 shots in the frame, was peppered in the seventh minute during a Battalion power play but came up with solid saves on Brazeau, Simon Rose and Nick King. Ceci foiled Struthers when he broke in alone in the 10th minute.

Antropov made it 3-0 at 13:16, driving to the net to convert the rebound of a Henderson shot off the right wing, before Oshawa struck for two goals in a span of 56 seconds in the second period to foreshadow the result.

Noel chipped a Jack Studnicka feed past Propp’s left pad from the slot at 6:21, and Henderson ended the goaltender’s night at 7:17, beating Propp high to the stick side from the slot.

Vrbetic, who faced nine shots in the period, made several good saves during a two-man disadvantage lasting 31 seconds but surrendered a goal at 13:47 as Henderson drove to the net off the left wing and flicked the puck over the goaltender’s right shoulder.

The Troops, with 10 shots in the period, scored at 14:59 when Brazeau cruised through the deep slot and redirected a Rose drive from the right point past Ceci. Struthers earned the second assist on Brazeau’s first goal of the season.

Henderson netted his third goal of the campaign at 1:11 of the third period when his shot from the right circle found its way past Vrbetic’s glove at the right post.

Walker responded 35 seconds later. His pass across the goalmouth to a charging Adam McMaster glanced off the stick of defender Joseph Rupoli and back to Walker, who fired it past a sprawling Ceci. Brandon Coe picked up the lone assist on Walker’s second goal.

Before paying Oshawa a visit Sunday night, the Battalion faces the Niagara IceDogs at St. Catharines at 7 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen live on YourTV Channels 12 and 700 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.

BATTALION BULLETS: Opening lines featured Struthers centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brazeau, McMaster pivoting left winger Walker and right winger Coe and Kyle Potts centring left winger Luke Moncada and Patrick Brown on right wing. Cameron Peters centred left winger Egor Postnov and right winger Kurtis Evans … Defence pairings saw Braden Henderson with Cole Cameron, King with Rose and Pacey Schlueting alongside Travis Mailhot … The Battalion scratched Rhys Forhan, David Maier, Harrison Caines, Payton Vescio and Christian Purboo … Vrbetic, a second-round pick in the OHL Priority Selection last April, was called up from the affiliated junior A Powassan Voodoos after Purboo was sidelined with an off-ice injury incurred Tuesday … Mailhot played for the first time since suffering an injury in training camp … Caines is recovering from a concussion he received last Friday night in a season-opening 7-5 decision over the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs. He was the recipient of a dirty hit by Isaac Nurse … The Battalion went 0-for-5 on the power play. Oshawa was 0-for-6 … Oshawa coach Greg Walters, who spent eight seasons as an assistant with the Sarnia Sting, earned his first OHL win … Studnicka returned Wednesday from the training camp of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins … Brent Montsion and Tom Sweeney were the referees.

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